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The Development Of Sudoku Puzzles (DOC)

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Walk along the streets of most major cities worldwide and you'll be hard-pressed not
to see at least a single person bent over sudoku puzzles. The puzzles are instant hits
especially in Britain and the United States. Usually misconstrued as a Japanese
creation, sudoku puzzles actually trace their origins from the Western world.

Sudoku puzzles are commonly associated with Leonhard Euler, a Swiss mathematical
genius of the 18th century. He is credited to be the inventor of the magic squares, an
atrocious 81-cell grid that can be filled with almost infinite varieties so that every
column and every row contain the digits one to nine. Though the more popular and
recent sudokus sport the same 1-9 rule and the 81-cell grid, the magic squares are not
presented as puzzles. They are merely expressions of Euler's mathematical genius.

In the late 19th century, the French daily, Le Siecle, came up with something almost
like sudokus. But, rather than using the single digits 1-9, the puzzle uses double-digit
numbers to complete the puzzles. Following Le Siecle's footsteps, another French
daily, La France, came up with its own puzzle version which uses the numbers 1-9.
But despite the same rules, La France's puzzles did not divide the 81 cells into grids of
nine boxes each. Notably, much like the sudoku puzzles, the solutions to La France's
puzzles always had the numbers 1-9 in the areas where the sub-grids were supposed to
be. However, unlike the daily sudokus, these puzzles were printed on a weekly basis
until the strat of World War I.

Following the thread of its development, the present-day sudoku puzzles first gained
audience in 1979. They were printed anonymously in Dell Magazines as puzzles in
the collection "Dell Pencil Puzzles and Word Games". But instead of labeling the
puzzles as sudokus, Dell put the puzzles under the heading, Number Place. Though
the puzzles have an audience, they are not as popular nor widespread as today because
of limited circulation. Recent investigation identified the author to be Howard Garns,
a retired architect. Though the puzzles did not bear his name, a puzzle history
investigator noted that publications that listed Garns's name as contributor always had
a sudoku inside; meanwhile, issues without sudoku did not list Garns's name. The
puzzle of the author's identity was finally solved.

From the West, the development of sudokus shifted to the East when Nikoli first
brought the puzzles to Japan in 1984. The tag sudoku actually stands for the basic
puzzle rule: single digits only. Innovations were introduced to Garns's invention such
as 32-digit clue restriction, and the rotational symmetry of the clues' positions.
Sudoku puzzles received wide circulation in Japan with a number of dailies and
magazines producing the puzzles. However, these puzzles were under a different
name since the sudoku monicker was trademarked by Nikoli.

After extensive rounds among the world's leading dailies and magazines, the sudoku
puzzles jumped onboard the computer ship. Programmers such as Loadstar Publishing
published the first computer based sudoku game named DigiHunt. Soon, other
programmers and devoted sudoku puzzle enthusiasts developed other programs such
as sudoku puzzle generators, sudoku solvers, and now, in the era of cyberspace, online
sudoku games. Truly, nothing can stop sudoku puzzles when it comes to expanding its
audience.

				
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